12-Month, Farmer-Led Training Program
Many skills are required to start and expand a successful farm business: passion, clear goals, production experience, financial and marketing know-how, and more. Farm Beginnings® will help you build these skills through one year of farmer-led training, mentoring, and networking. The program includes farmer-led classroom sessions, on-farm tours, and an extensive farmer network to help you clarify your goals and strengths, establish a strong enterprise plan, and start building your profitable and sustainable operation. Students do not need to own land, but some farming or production experience is required to get the most out of the program.
The connections that we have created at New Roots through Farm Beginnings is what we cherish the most. Many different farmers took the time to share their stories, mistakes, successes and business models with us. These stories helped us in making many of our own first-time decisions. We now have a network of dear friends whom we can call on if we ever have a problem, need assistance, or just simply to talk, vent, and relate.New Roots Market Garden, Krista Wesch and Stephen Rosenthal
210+ Hours of Training
- Winter Whole-Farm Business Planning Courses—60 hours—October–March
- ASAP’s Business of Farming Conference—8 hours—February
- OGS Spring Conference & Harvest Conference—40+ hours—March and September
- Mentorship with an experienced Farmer Mentor—15 hours—March–September
- Production Training: WNC CRAFT tours on sustainable farms around WNC & Field Days at the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy Incubator Farm—45 hours—April–October
- WNC CRAFT Farmer Network: Membership and mentoring in a regional farmer network—12 months
Location of Winter Whole-Farm Business Planning Courses 2018-2019
Growing Rural Opportunities
Mill Spring Agricultural Center
156 School Road
Mill Spring, NC 28756 (Polk County)
45 minutes from Asheville
The class of 2019-2020 will be in the vicinity of Asheville, NC (specific location TBD.)
Partnership with GRO
Organic Growers School is proud to partner with Growing Rural Opportunities to host the 2018–2019 Farm Beginnings® classroom sessions in Mill Spring, NC. The mission of GRO is crafting and creating opportunities for local farms and communities by facilitating public education about, and advancement of, agriculture.
Farm Beginnings® Farmer Training is approved by the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) as an Education Vendor. As a Farm Beginnings® Graduate, your training counts as a year of farm management experience when you apply for a farmland loan through the Farm Service Agency.
What I got from Farm Beginnings is a real understanding of what it actually takes to have a farm. Before going into the program I had a lot of lofty dreams about living a bucolic life. This class really taught me what it takes and the hard work that goes into farming by introducing us to real farmers and getting real numbers. It was also a really great way to connect to other local farmers and people who are just starting out, in order to create a network of folks who have the same passion and vision.Quinn Asteak
For questions, please contact Farmer Programs Coodinator, Nicole DelCogliano at firstname.lastname@example.org
OGS Farmer Programs are made possible by our farmer network and our funding partners: USDA-NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, Grant #2016-70017-25341, USDA Rural Business Development Program, Community Foundation of WNC, Polk County Community Foundation, CLIF Bar Family Foundation, New Belgium Brewing, Simply Organic 1%. Our Growth Partners (year-round program support) are: Carolina Farm Credit, French Broad Food Coop, Mountain Rose Herbs, Earth Tools, Biltmore Company, Red Moon Herbs, Living Web Farms, and Chelsea Green Publishing. Our Media Sponsors are Hendersonville Community Co-op, and WNCW.